Planning amobile learning project By Inge Ignatia de Waard
Mobile projects at ITMCurrently I work at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerpen, Belgium.ITM has been developing several, different types of projects: on/offline data gathering, full mobile courses, mobile learning for health awareness, mobile continuing education updates, train the trainer modules, GIS. These mobile solutions were developed for research and educational purposes.Our challenges: emerging countries, challenging environments & tiny budgets & tiny team.Our strength: an interdisciplinary, creative team.
11 steps towards a mLearning project5 core elements:•1. Define the goal of the mLearning project? What needs does it address?2. Get all the stakeholders involved.3. What are your planned learner dynamics.4. What is the (mobile) infrastructure like in the target area you will be rolling out yourproject?5. Who is your target audience? What is the mobile situation for your targetaudience?Knowing the above steps, you can get more practical:•6. Could security be an issue? Sensitive information/location7. What will be the core devices you will cater for? BYOD or not?8. How will you design the content? Authoring tools or programming or social mediaor text?9. What are your strategies your mobile content delivery ?10. What is a mLearning content user allowed to do?11. What will be your user policies?More elaborate: http://ignatiawebs.blogspot.it/2012/06/drawing-up-mlearning-strategy.html
Which mLearning need is addressed?Starting from a need that lives in your targetaudience will increase chances of success.
What is your project goal?What part of the need does it address?What do you want to achieve with this project? For instance:an improved financial awareness and action strategy forwomen in poor and challenged situations, enabling them tostart a small business.A clear goal defines priorities, which in turn lead to the mobilesolutions you will need to find or create.
Which mLearning field does it relate to?Depending on the field, different mobile tools or technical options areneeded•For example: – a project related to language will have more focus on communication/audio, – a project targeting less literate learners will have to be more visual, – environmental projects will benefit from geo-location options…
Who is your target audience?Who will be the learners for this mLearning project andwhat is their mobile environment?If you are able to describe the target population, it willmake it easier to anticipate mobile digital literacy, whattype of device they are using, which type of communityfeeling is important.
Different learners, different entry levelsIf a project consists of different learner audiences, you mightneed different project entry levels: e.g. an engineering projectcan have different audiences: the engineers (keeping in touchwith progress on the floor – pictures of progress, sharingnotes), the managers (need to keep up with costs, timing…)and overall project leads.In those cases it is useful to plan different entry levels, so alearner only sees what is of interest to them (possibly with anoption to see all, but enable optimal time management andfocus).
Engage all stakeholdersWho are ALL the stakeholders that might influence the project? (e.g.school directors, district health clinics, ministry of education, top levelmanagers, leaders of a community, funding agencies ...).•Getting stakeholders involved from early on, gives them a sense ofco-ownership and importance. This will make them more open to yourproject as mutual trust can be build from early on.
Prepare your pitch …Be ready with a broader description of the project if you want to getfunding or interest from stakeholders. Make sure that your project hassome ‘body’ and looks like more than a wild idea. (possibly with ascenario describing how the learning cycle of the project evolves)
Infrastructure analysisWhat type of technology and infrastructure can be expected?What is the internet/telecom connection in that region? – Which type of mobile device will be offered or do the target audience have at their disposal? – Are the mobile devices basic (email, sms) or more elaborate (mobile apps, mobile browser …?) – Is there stable electricity/connectivity? – Can you use mobile social media or not? Are some of the media censored or filtered (China, N. Korea…)?
Know the cost for ALL parties The cost is not only limited to starting the project, it has consequences for the user also. Make a holistic cost overview: •How much does it cost to start the project? •How much does it cost to sustain the project? •How much is the cost for the user (regional data plan, sms cost, phone/tablet cost…)?
How do you ensure sustainability?One of the most heard critiques on mLearning projects is the fact that manyof them do not stand the test of time (= not longer than the pilot period ofthe project).•For stakeholders and certainly for gathering funds it is important that you atleast come up with a few durable ideas: using what the target population has,keeping costs low, understanding the cost of the user once the project rollsout ....
Step by step, reaching your goal? Cut down your project into smaller steps. List the different steps that will bring you to a successful end result: •interviewing the target population, •getting funds from organisation X, •developing mobile skills training....
Timing gives a guidelineOnce you know the steps, you can put a timeline ongetting the project realized. This will enable you toplan ahead, as well as adapt if needed.
Foresee possible challengesOnce you analyse all factors, keep potentialchallenges in mind and list them:•stakeholders that can slow down the project,•administrative processes, …
The 500 $ MobiMOOC AwardAt the end of the three week course the MobiMOOC Award will be offered to thewinning mLearning project, as voted by the MobiMOOC participants. The winningmLearning project will be that project which is considered by all as having the mostimpact for people living in difficult or challenged situations.In order to enter the contest and to win the MobiMOOC Award, you must participatein MobiMOOC and fill in a mLearning project overview. The contest will be based onmLearning project overviews, that will be made based on a10 step template that can be found here.Every MobiMOOC participant willing to enter the MobiMOOC award contest will beasked to post their overview in the MobiMOOC google group [clear subject line ofmail = mLearning project + your name] OR send their overview by 25 September (isabsolute deadline) to Inge/Ignatia (see contact details in last slide)From 28 September 2012 the vote will be open and on 30 September the winner willbe revealed.30 September 2012: Award notification! The winner of the MobiMOOC award will berevealed (the money will be send via Western Union.
Collaboration makes us strongerI would ask all of you to share your project overview withall of us first. That way you will get the best possiblefeedback.If you do not feel comfortable you can mail the overviewto me and I will give private feedback (if I get theoverview before 23 September).
Steps to take with mLearning overviewGet hold of the mLearning project overview•Here on the wikipage•Or here as a google documentWrite up a workable draftShare it with the group: discussion forum here or viaMobiMOOC group here. Make sure to use a clear title.Or send it via mail to Inge BEFORE 23 September 2012 forfeedback.Once your draft reaches a state you are happy with, post itwith title ‘final mLearning overview’ in the designateddiscussion forum (before 25 September 2012).